hell is other people
As Faustus Leviticus, JD, Ph.D, it is your job to watch over the six children of the north wing here at Baroque Psychiatric Hospital for Children. Once a day you must call them, one at a time, into your office for a short interview. This morning approaches the regularly scheduled time for these check-ups. You like to keep a tight ship around here! After all, the north wing is the figurehead of this institution and tardiness is the LAST thing that will ruin that for you.
Sitting behind your desk, you hover your finger over a button. Once you press it, your voice will be transmitted throughout the entire wing, as always. This morning, you will be asking the usual questions:
How are you feeling today?
How can we improve our services here for you?
How are you getting along with your fellow patients?
Oftentimes, you come up with a unique question right before you call a patient down, without thinking about it-- you feel it keeps them on their feet. Anyhow, there's no real order for this. Thinking up just some various question, you must press the button and call a name.
Go ahead, Doctor.
hell is other people
You press your finger down on the button.
"Miss Violante, could I please see you in my office? It's time for your check-up."
It's not long before Jezebel shows up in the doorway and sits herself down on the oak stool. Oak is a very good wood to make stools out of. You're quite the fan of oak.
Jezebel: I knew you'd call me first today, Fausty. I was dying to see you, too.
"Now, Jezebel, you know how I feel about that nickname. If you must use my first name, please say it correctly. We respect each other around here.
Jezebel: Oh please don't get upset with me, doctor...
"Anyhow, let's not fall behind schedules. Are you ready for today's questions?"
Jezebel: I'm ready for anything you got for me, sweetie~
"How are you feeling today?"
Jezebel: I'm ecstatic!
Jezebel: Yeah, because we're really hitting it off. Aren't we? The way you look into my eyes is making me all...
You've always found the young Miss Violante rather difficult to work with, but this is your job.
"Jezebel, please. This is just your daily check-up, save that for group therapy this evening."
Jezebel: Oh, you're right! I love group therapy. I can lead it again, right? I love leading group therapy! As long as you say it's okay, I mean.
"...Moving on, how can we improve our services here for you?"
Jezebel: Oh you know full well how you can improve your services to me.
Jezebel: Sorry, was that out of line? Hm, maybe it was! But I think I of all people here can get away with that once in a while, right? I'm Jezebel Violante, after all. Not some Jane Doe. Or some Bellinda Wadjet.
"Speaking of Bellinda, how are you getting along with your fellow patients?"
Jezebel: FUCK BELLINDA! She doesn't pay any attention to me! It's all that stupid sock with her and I don't give a shit about that goddamn smelly cunt sock! I've half a mind to rip it right off her hand and burn it!
"Now you know you will be severely punished for burning Bellinda's sock."
Jezebel: Y-you're right. I'm so sorry, please don't be upset with me. But still, it's a sock! Can't we at least make her wash it? I can smell that thing from my room at night and it's driving me insane.
"That's an exaggeration but we'll see. How are you getting along with everyone else?"
Jezebel: Just fine, doctor. At least they pay attention when I'm talking to them.
"And finally, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Jezebel: Heehee, I'm surprised you never asked me this before, Fausty... I would say your mistress but why would I need to wait until I'm grown up for that~
"Enough. Have a nice day, Miss Violante."
She appears very disappointed when you wave her out. One would suppose it is beneficial to deal with the most difficult tasks first and Jezebel has always been very difficult for you. Now, who's next?
Considering you were just talking about her it might be a good time to call in Bellinda
hell is other people
Speaking of Bellinda, you decide you may as well call her in. She's quite the piece of work herself.
"Miss Wadjet, could you please come down to my office? It's that time."
After a minute, the door opens and Bellinda snakes herself in and plops down on the glorious oak. Oak is fantastic. All of the cabinetry in your house is made from oak.
Of course, Bellinda doesn't actually speak as herself. The sock puppet on her right hands does all the talking for her while she sits quietly, staring directly into your eyes with that wide smile. The puppet's name is Geb and Bellinda depicts it as a fast-talking socialite from early to mid 20th century America. You've yet to discover how she became such a talented ventriloquist at her young age.
Geb: Heya doc, what's shakin-- Oh geez louise did you take a little too hard to the giggle water last night? You look like you just spent a night with my wife! I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.
"...Hello Geb. May I speak with Bellinda, please?"
Geb: This kid is just the gams of the operation here, doc. Man does not control his own fate, the women in his life do that for him.
"Still a fan of Groucho, hm? Well I need to speak with Bellinda."
Geb: Flap that gargantuan kisser all day, Leviticus. Your old pal Geb has the answers. By the way doc, I checked out your book.
You have written several books on child psychology but you only keep one around the wards for reading, "Monsters and Medications," exploring the use of drugs on children.
"Oh, and what did you think of it?"
Geb: From the second I picked it up to the second I put it down, I was taken over with laughter. I intend to read it someday.
"...Yes, well, moving on. How are you feeling today?"
Geb: With my hands, just like any other day.
"I wasn't aware you had hands, Geb."
Geb: Who are you gonna believe, me or your own eyes? If a man says he has hands, you better believe it even if you can't see em! Especially if you can't see em! Because then they're probably about to come out of nowhere and ring your neck!
"I see. How can we improve our services here for you?"
Geb: Bring out the hooch, floozies, and kick everyone else out! I'm so dry I'm coughing up dust and I haven't seen a dame in so long I'm beginning to miss my wife! Those are my demands. If you don't like em, well... I have others. Take your pick!
It's very difficult to get any straight answers out of Bellinda when her sock puppet is so intent on channeling a dead comedian.
"Alright then, how are you getting along with your fellow patients?"
Geb: I can't make heads or tails out of those kids. But I could make a pretty swanky sweat shop!
"What don't you understand about them?"
Geb: What's wrong with em? That little minx with the hat sure needs to quiet down. Women should be obscene, not heard. And that kid with the nose? Where does he get off? Hopefully at the plastic surgeon's office because he needs some work on that schnoz before I'll be able to take my eyes off it and give him my ears. And lemme tell you about the big guy--
Geb: Yeah he sure looks like he's been dunkin a donut or two. Now there's a kid with some demons. We should handcuff him to the nose kid and see who comes out breathing.
"Do you have any specific problems?"
Geb: Yeah, my back hurts.
"I meant in relation to the other patients."
Geb: Why would I want to be related to these little weirdos? With a family like this, I'd be better off living in New Jersey.
"Alright Bellinda, we're done for now. We still have a long way to go with you. I'll see you at group therapy this evening."
Geb: Aw, can't you take a joke? Though from the looks of you, it seems you only take straight gin.
You wave her out and she calmly makes her leave, the sock puppet glaring you down the entire way out. After a sigh, it's back to the list. Who next, doctor?
The cat's meow
> Call in Darius. We need more testosterone!
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Connoisseur of men in dresses
I say Ravenwood. Might as well finish up with the girls.
>Benose- you mean Benoit.
Call in the kid with the nose... whhoever that is.
hell is other people
You don't know about testosterone but Darius would be a nice cool-down after having to work with Jezebel and Bellinda.
"Mr. Salvatore, please see me in my office. Thank you."
In mere seconds the young lad appears and flips his hair before taking a seat on the glorious oak. Oak is so reliable. You've already willed that your coffin be made of oak, you don't care what people have to say about that.
Darius: Oh doctor, I'm glad you got to me next. You see, I've been feeling a little dark lately, you know what I mean? Like, kind of down. Poor me, right? Whatever shall I do? Next thing you know, I'm going to be locked in my own mind, forever tormented by these dark vibes. This is some really severe depression, doctor.
"Of course, Darius. How do you feel apart from a little down?"
Darius: Hm~ Well I suppose if I could overcome this debilitating depression, I'd feel just peachy! Oh, but I'm feeling a little weaker than usual too. I think maybe my muscles are going to be consumed by a bug or something! I ask that we can get this checked out as soon as possible. Thanks honey. I mean doctor. Whatever, we're pals right?
"We are friends, of course. But I do ask that you refer me by my title. Just a little formality of the occupation."
Darius: Oh I hear ya, sister. It won't happen again, cross my heart and hope to die~
"Very good. So, how can we improve our services here for you?"
Darius: Oooh you know what this place needs? Some ~funky music~ I thiiiink! Get everyone up and shaking their little butts to the groove once a day could do wonders for everyone! Well, except me. I'm doomed.
"Doomed, you say? What's wrong this time?"
Darius: I'm going deaf. It's terrible! The other day at dinner, I was talking to Joy and she said something back and I couldn't hear it!
"Jocelyn mutters under her breath all the time. Are you sure she didn't want you to hear what she said?"
Darius: Oh please, Dr. L. I'm going deaf. Trust me on this one, I think I know my own ears better than you do.
"If you say so."
Darius: Could you speak up for me? I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that.
"Very well. So how are you getting along with your fellow patients? I know you rarely have any problems with anyone here."
Darius: I'm having a hard time coming to terms with something... How am I going to tell all these wonderful people I'm going to die soon? It'd break their poor little hearts~ But I can't escape my fate. Centuries ago my family was cursed by a gypsy woman... We're all destined to die before we turn 16.
"But Darius, your parents are still alive. And they must have been in their late twenties when they had you."
Darius: I know but I'm pretty sure I'm adopted. I don't look a thing like them anyway. It's no biggie though, I got love for them~ Mwah mwah, kisses for mommy and daddy back home, shout-outs to my friends back at school.
"Did you have any trouble in school?"
Darius: Well I'm tragically math and science retarded. Most unfortunate. I was the only one in the class to suffer a C- grade. It's just dreadful to be singled out like that, you know? Besides this, I also think school was the cause of my OCD. My pencil just had to be perpendicular to my notebook or it'd bug me all day!
"Did you have any rituals for this pencil straightening?"
Darius: Rituals? Like, sacrificing a goat or something? Please, I wouldn't hurt an animal. It's OCD, not a total lack of humanity.
"Very well, Mr. Salvatore. We'll look into all these things for you. Have a nice day and I'll see you again this evening."
Darius: Oh absolutely, looking forward to it! I just hope my schizophrenic delusions don't keep me huddled in the corner of my room all night. Ciao!
He leaves with a friendly wink and closes the door behind him. You find him rather fun to be around in a sort of sadistic way... Anyhow, doctor, who's next?
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hell is other people
You've had the most success working with Duncan so why not call him in?
"Mr. Miller, I'd like you to come down to my office, if you please."
It takes a moment but soon the large boy comes lumbering in, sitting down carefully on the oak stool. Just look at how sturdy that oak is under the boy's weight! Oak is a godsend. Sometimes you wish your mother was made from oak.
Duncan: Dese check-ups ah gettin tirin...
"But we're making a breakthrough with you Duncan. As long as we keep everything on schedule, you might get to check out before long."
Duncan: If you say so doc. Let's just get it ova wit. Fire away.
"Indeed. How are you feeling today?"
Duncan: I'm tired. I just wanna sit around and do nothin for once but ya guys always makin me do somethin.
"Maybe you don't see it quite yet, but we're helping you."
Duncan: I ain't DONE yet, excuse me. Like I was sayin, I'm gettin a little sick-a havin to do all dis stuff I don't wanna do. But hey I ain't complainin none, no no. Ya do what ya feel ya gotta do. Me, I'll just be sittin back and waitin-- I'm done.
Duncan: Next question. Come on, I ain't got all day. Oh wait, yes I do. Take ya time.
"Ahem... Yes, well, how can we improve our services for you here?"
Duncan: Get off my back for one day. I don't like da idea of havin to play scrabble and stuff all da time, ya understand? Then again, scrabble is pretty darn fun. Actually I think we should all have a big scrabble tournament. And of course it'd end with me versus you, a battle of da ages. Ya know anything about "floccinaucinihilipilification" up dere is ya head doc? Don't even tell me I can't fit it on the board cuz you know darn well I will. I'm just dat good at scrabble! After I crush you at de game you should take me all over da country so I can crush everyone else! Da whole nation will be cryin and kissin my shoes and shoutin "have mercy!" and I'll whisper, "fuck." And suddenly POW I'm on da cover of magazines! I'm da next big ting! I'm-- done.
"Done again? You were really going places with that one."
Duncan tends to be a little unstable...
"How are you getting along with your fellow patients, Duncan?"
"I'm sorry, I'd really like an answer."
Duncan: Whatever. Too much work to talk.
"Really? You just gave me a wonderful speech back there about scrabble, though."
"Come on now, let's just answer this one last question and you can go sit around for a while."
Duncan: I got a ting for Jezebel.
"...What. Duncan, listen, I don't know where that came from but we've already been through this with everyone here. Jezebel is dangerous to get involved with any more than casual friendship, and even then, you have to know how to act around her. She's not fit for you."
Duncan: But Dr. Leviticus, she's gorgeous. Ah you tryin to tell me... she ain't gorgeous?
"I'm not in a position to make that sort of comment. That's your own opinion to make."
Duncan: No no no, doc. Doc. DOC. Ah you... tellin me Jez ain't the prettiest gal here? Ahaha, ah you serious with me right now? Ah you tellin me she ain't yer type? Oh no wait, lemme guess-- yer into sock girl, right? Ahaha! Maybe dis ain't even about looks. Maybe dis ain't even about relationships! Maybe dis is about business. You only like who ya make progress on, doncha? Whoever you can show off to the board with a cocky smile is yer favorite, right? Me, dat fairy, and dat short girl with the makeup, right? ...Wait, so what's wrong with Jez?
"She's hardly thirteen years old, Mr. Miller. What do you want me to say?"
Duncan: ...Eh. Jez ain't nothin. I'm over her.
Duncan: She ain't nothin. Can I go now?
"...I suppose so. Please relax and have a good day, Duncan. See you this evening."
Without saying anything, he makes his leave.
No really, he's one of your better patients. Now, only Jocelyn and Benoit remain.
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hell is other people
Perhaps it is time to call in the young miss before she grows too exhausted to make the trek to your office.
"Miss Ravenwood, you're next. Please come on down to my office."
Taking even longer than Duncan, the very petite young girl finally arrives and enters. She hesitates before reluctantly sitting herself up on the stool. Why would anyone hesitate around oak? Oak is God's gift to woods! You can't help but raise an eyebrow and grit your teeth at her attitude toward oak.
Jocelyn: Same old, same old...
"What is, Jocelyn?"
Jocelyn: This routine. You ask a few questions, I answer the same way every time, then I have to go back and be bothered by a group of morons.
"They're not morons. They just have some problems. You're here too, remember."
Jocelyn: I'm here because I tried to kill several times and I failed. At everything. Now I'm being put through this exhausting cycle continuously over and over forever and ever.
"In that case, do you not want me to ask how you feel? Will your stock answer suffice yet again? What was it... 'I feel normal?'"
"How can you say you feel normal after what you've tried to do? And after you see where you are?"
Jocelyn: Glorious, glorious irony...
"And need I ask how we can improve our services here for you?"
Jocelyn: You don't need to do anything.
"And how about your relationship with your fellow patients?"
Jocelyn: Nothing changes. I tolerate them.
"...Your grandparents are the core reason this institution exists at all. I owe your family a great deal. I'm not giving up on you just yet."
Jocelyn: But you will eventually.
"Jocelyn Ravenwood, tell me. What do you hope will happen to you?"
She glares directly at you.
Jocelyn: You'll find out.
Without a blink, she hops off the stool and makes for the door.
Jocelyn: Good luck with Benoit today. He's getting worse.
You lean back in your chair and watch her leave, thinking about how depressing and serious she is all the time. If it wasn't for oak, your mood would be completely ruined. But back to business! You've no choice but to call Benoit in next. Now, something you always have to remind yourself with Benoit is that he's not as realistic as the other five children. At least they live in a realistic realm. Perhaps you should play along with his fantasy world for once, to see what happens? Or, you could stick to business as usual and ignore (but note) his delusions to insure you stay on schedule. The choice is yours, doctor, but you must make the call.
Conqueror of Tiny Nations
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